Monday, October 7, 2013

Econo Lodge Riverside in Pigeon Forge, TN: It Feels Like Home!

We're finally back from our ten day trip to the Smokies, and things are finally starting to get back to normal. I'm sure you moms know what I'm talking about.. Vacations are so much more stressful than just staying at home... Aren't they supposed to be relaxing?? Anyways, we had a wonderful time and I am happy to report that my family's new "go to" Pigeon Forge hotel is going to be the Econo Lodge Riverside!! We have stayed at a ton of different hotels, and I have to say, I have never felt more at home than I did at this hotel!

This hotel is in a great location, which makes it the perfect place to stay when visiting Pigeon Forge. It is near the beginning of town, right down the street from the Titanic Museum Attraction, and right next door to The Christmas Place. There is a CVS right across the street and tons of attractions, shopping and restaurants all within walking distance. There is also a trolley stop right outside of the hotel, which my family took advantage of almost every day of our trip! It's so nice to be able to park your car and just let someone else do the driving! 

The Econo Lodge Riverside has recently undergone a complete remodel, and it looks amazing! We're not talking a little paint and new pillows here, this hotel has been completely remodeled and upgraded! You can tell from the moment you pull up to the hotel, everything is fresh, new and extremely inviting! It just has that "new" feel to it, if that makes sense! This is NOT your typical Econo Lodge, this hotel is in a class of it's own. However, it IS an Econo Lodge, so you know you're getting a great value when staying here! This is one of the most affordable hotels in the area, and I am not joking when I say it's worth at least double of what they charge!

From the moment we checked in, the staff at Econo Lodge Riverside went out of their way to make sure that my family had a wonderful stay. Everyone that we came into contact with during our stay was extremely helpful and friendly, which is one of the keys to making a lasting impression. Many times we have stayed at hotels where the staff just doesn't seem to care, or doesn't seem to be happy to be there, and it does really affect a customer's perception of the hotel. With the Econo Lodge Riverside, we really felt like we were wanted, and that everyone who worked there was happy to have us there. That's a great feeling as a hotel guest, and that's what keeps guests coming back! 


My boys were SO thrilled to find that management had left us a welcome package in our room, with tons of goodies to make our stay special! It's that kind of attention to detail and customer service that makes this hotel special!

Our room was absolutely perfect! We had two queen beds, and it was comfortable for the four of us. I have read a few reviews online that say that the only drawback of this hotel is the small rooms, but we stayed for an entire week, and our room was fine! There is also a small table and chairs in the room, which was great for the boys to color and draw at, or just sit and eat lunch instead of heading to a restaurant. There is a dresser where the TV sits, and on either side of that, there are two very spacious closets for storage. There is also a microwave and fridge in every room, which is great for making quick meals or snacks. There are more cabinets for storage in that area, and my family had plenty of space to store everything that we had with us. 

The hotel has three floors and the building has several different parts. There is part of the building that faces the Parkway (the main street in Pigeon Forge), where all the hustle and bustle and traffic is. These rooms would be great for people watching, and if you wanted to be smack dab in the middle of the action.There are also rooms that face the inside of the hotel atrium, where the pool is located. These rooms would be super convenient  since they are close to the pool, the game room, the breakfast room, the office, and the laundry room, but I was afraid that they might get a little loud being so close to the pool area. We opted for a room with a River View, which faces out to the Little Pigeon River and the parking lot. These rooms seem to be much quieter, besides the plethora of ducks that make their home back there. I loved waking up to the views of the river and the ducks every day! I also liked being close to the parking lot so I could look out the window and check on our car, and we had easy access to the car for packing and unpacking, running errands, etc.. The only bad thing about having a river view room is that you have to come outside after being in the pool to get to your room, but it was just a short walk, less than a minute or two, and the weather was great the whole time we were there.. It could be a little chilly in the Winter, but I would be willing to take that trade off in order to wake up by the river! 
The Econo Lodge Riverside has a ton of great amenities for it's guests. One of our favorite things was making friends with the ducks outside. There are feed machines out there so you can buy feed for the ducks, and they come running as soon as they see someone put a quarter in the machine! It's so funny! They are adorable and will eat out of your hand if you let them! There are several picnic tables out by the river and even a grill, so you can hang out out there, feed the ducks, enjoy the scenery and just relax. I am so glad that we had a river view room so we could take advantage of this every day! 

I know that to most folks, wifi is a very important feature for any hotel room, and this hotel has no wifi problems that I can attest to. I read some reviews online that said wifi was slow here, but we had no problems at all. Honestly , the wifi at Econo Lodge Riverside was probably 3x faster than our high speed internet at home! Oh, and I need to mention that the TV and cable is just peachy. They do offer free HBO, so that is nice. I watched the series finale of Breaking Bad the Sunday night right before we checked out, so believe me, if there were any television issues, I would have freaked out! 

The free hot breakfast is also a great "extra" that this hotel offers! It is from 7am to 10am every day, and it's delicious! They have things like biscuits and gravy, sausage, scrambled eggs, fruit, cereal, muffins, toast, and you can even make your own yummy waffles! My boys really enjoyed rushing down to breakfast every morning! It does get crowded down there during busy times, but you can always sneak your breakfast up to your room and eat it there if you want! There is also a beautiful little courtyard area off from the breakfast room with tables and chairs for relaxing. This is a great place to eat your breakfast, and we even ordered pizza and had our dinner down there one night. It's just a beautiful little spot to relax! 

For my boys, the game room was also a big hit! There are a ton of games in there and they are all very affordable (lucky for mom and dad!). I also was lucky enough (aren't moms always the lucky ones?) to be able to take advantage of the laundry room at the Econo Lodge Riverside. While doing laundry on vacation is not the MOST fun thing you can do, the Econo Lodge has the perfect place to do it. The washers and dryers there worked great, and they were affordable as well. The dryer even dried my clothes in one cycle, and that NEVER happens at a laundromat! I liked that the laundry area was right off from the pool, so I could throw a load in to wash and then relax and watch the boys swim for awhile. Much better than being "locked away" in some windowless room to do laundry! 

The best part of our stay was no surprise if you know my boys! The pool, of course! I have to say that the Econo Lodge Riverside has THE very nicest hotel swimming pool of any hotel that we have ever stayed at! I am a mom to two little fishies, and they would spend their entire vacation in the pool if they could, so having a hotel with a good pool is a must for us. The Econo Lodge Riverside really has done a great job of making their pool area warm, inviting, and most importantly, clean! The pool is located in the atrium area, and there are hotel rooms that all face the pool. There is a hot tub, a kiddie pool, and the big indoor pool. The hot tub is very nice, it's kind of set back in it's own little corner, and it's very relaxing! The kiddie pool was also a HUGE hit with our boys, especially Beanie, since he was big enough to stand up in there and splash around with no help at all. He's never experienced that before, so it was really great to see him enjoying himself. He spent so much time in that baby pool, I think his fingers are STILL wrinkled! (Okay, I'm exaggerating, but ONLY a little!)

However, EVERYBODY"S favorite was the giant indoor pool! The pool is huge, but it only goes from 3-5 foot. I like that there is no "really deep" end, those really deep pools just make me nervous! This is probably one of the cleanest hotel pools I've ever been in, and that says a whole lot! It's also a really spacious pool, which is nice. I hate how sometimes pools feel  crammed and uncomfortable once a few families are all in them together, but that wasn't the case at all with this pool. It was, without a doubt, the favorite part for each and every member of our family! 

It really does take a lot for me to say this, but this hotel is our favorite hotel we have ever stayed at in the Smokies (I think it's our favorite hotel, period!), and it will without a doubt be the hotel we stay at going forward! This hotel is really a gem in Pigeon Forge! There are a ton of cheap, "not so great" hotels in the area, and there are a ton of uber-expensive, fancy pants hotels in the area, but there are not many clean, affordable, nice family hotels in the area. This hotel is definitely the best pick if you are looking to stay somewhere budget friendly, but still nice, clean and comfortable. It really helps to have a staff that goes the extra mile to make the guests feel important and special, and this hotel has that. I honestly don't think I have a single complaint about this hotel... Having to go outside to get back to your room if you have a river view room could get cold in the winter months, but that could easily be solved by booking a pool view room instead if you think you will be spending a lot of time there. Oh, and my boys wish there were bacon and cinnamon rolls on the breakfast menu! (Those are their go-to breakfast foods right now!) Really though, there is not a single thing I would change about our hotel, it truly was the perfect stay, and our whole family was a little bit sad when it was time to go! 

I know that I have nothing bad to say about this hotel, and that is really saying a lot. I have a tendency to be a little bit nit picky when it comes to things like hotel rooms and restaurant service, so for me to be completely and totally satisfied is a big accomplishment! It might just be a coincidence, but while we were staying at Econo Lodge Riverside, our vacation was perfect! After checking out, that's when things started going downhill.. Late night emergency room visits, car trouble, tow bills for 107+ miles.......Coincidence? I think not! Our family is convinced that Econo Lodge Riverside was our lucky hotel! (I'm joking... kind of!) We've decided that we'll be staying at this hotel again next time, just to make sure! 

If your family is traveling to the Smoky Mountains, and you're looking for an affordable, clean, family friendly hotel, Econo Lodge Riverside is the one you're looking for! You can check out their website HERE, and be sure to "like" them on Facebook for all the latest news, deals, and promotions! A big THANK YOU to Adam and all the staff at the Econo Lodge Riverside for your kindness and hospitality during our stay, and we will be seeing you guys again soon! 

Disclosure: My family received a complimentary stay and/or media rate in exchange for our honest review. We have no obligation to write a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are 100% our own, as always

1 comment:

  1. Wow really deep pools make me nervous too I had a swim team try outs pool that went from 6 feet deep to 14 feet deep. The deep end scared the crap out of me. But I have touched the bottom of 8 feet 6 inches

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